Bulldog aggression and dominance is something that comes instinctually to the breed, but the majority of it has been bred out over time. Dominance was the name of the game when they were originally bred, as herding and baiting was their main purpose.
This breed tends to assert dominance over other doggies in particular – and sometimes even their humans.
This sort of behavior mostly occurs in younger puppies, but it can certainly happen with older ones as well. When it occurs in younger ones, please realize that this is natural.
Puppies have a tendency to put literally anything and everything into their mouth. That’s how they learn, that’s how they see the world – they taste, nibble, and bite things they probably shouldn’t. This is particularly true during the teething period.
Getting frustrated and upset is a natural way to react to this sort of behavior. But it isn’t necessarily the best way, and retaliating against your pooch could enhance the issue. This is because he or she will learn to defend themselves if you attempt to administer physical punishment.
So let’s take a look at how we can apply training to help taper the issue:
- Exercise: I’m a huge advocate of exercise for dogs. Exercise will tire him or her out and keep their aggression at bay. Sometimes, however, an exercise in and of itself will not be the solution to all your problems. Aggression can still continue, but it aids in helping your fur-baby ridding themselves of any excess energy they may have.
- Toys: Make sure you have good toys ready. When your furry-one is getting too aggressive, it’s time to bust out his or her favorite toy. Keep in mind you can’t be using the same toy over and over. They will get bored of toys that they have already destroyed and/or chewed.
- Assert yourself As the Pack Leader: You do this by giving him rules and boundaries. If you don’t give you them any rules, they will begin to think that they are the pack leader and this kind of thinking will lead to aggression towards other animals as they want to protect you. It is a natural instinct for them to be aggressive towards other animals and protect their pack if you have not asserted yourself and the calm-mannered leader. Make sure your dog knows his “place” in the pack, and aggression towards other dogs will taper off.
- Reward Good Behavior: When playing with your Bully, if he or she is playing nicely make sure you give them plenty of love and praise. Reward correct behavior when they bite the right things (such as their toy). Do so by rewarding a treat!
- Downplay Bad Behavior: When your pooch tries to nip or bite your hand, make sure you yell “ouch!” and back your hands away and stop playing. Eventually, he or she will learn that biting your hand hurts, and that skin is sensitive. It’s important that you stop playing with him or her for about 10 minutes if they are constantly going after your hands in a rough fashion. They will quickly learn this kind of play is not tolerated.
- Be Stern: It’s tough sometimes to be stern with our furry loved ones. But if you don’t, they might not trust that you are the pack leader or the dominant one. If he or she is biting, nipping, or doing some sort of unacceptable behavior, give a firm “No” as soon as you see it happen. But you must catch them in the act and say “No.” Saying “No” anytime after the fact will just confuse your boy/girl about what you are unhappy with. Either do it immediately or ignore it.